Menopause is time in a woman's life when her periods (menstruation) eventually stop and the body goes through changes that no longer allow her to get pregnant. It is a natural event that normally occurs in women age 45 - 55 or 30s(early menopause/60s(late menopause). Some women have few complaints, while others have severe symptoms that affect their quality of life. Menopause also be seen as a positive beginning of a new phase of life, with opportunities to take preventive action against major health risks.
Menopause is defined as the absence of menstrual periods for 12 months.You should be aware that some irregularities in your menstrual cycle may not be related to premature menopause, but could be a sign of some abnormality -- including cancer, polyps, non-malignant tumors, or fibroids (which are very common when women first begin going through menopause). If you've had a check-up and there's nothing wrong with you, then you know that irregular periods are something you'll have to get used to for a while.
The process of menopause does not occur overnight, but rather is a gradual process.This so-called perimenopausal transition period is a different experience for each woman. In the early stages of menopause, you may find that you're getting more -- and worse -- headaches,Sore Joints/Muscles -- similar to flu symptoms or arthritis, you may also noticed some changes including:
- Hair Loss
- Sleep Disorders
- Difficult Concentrating
- Memory Lapses
- Weight Gain
- Brittle Nails
- Changes in Odor
- Irregular Heartbeat
- Panic Disorder
It’s still possible for a woman to become pregnant even if she is showing signs of perimenopause, because she may still ovulate.
Common Symptoms of menopause can include:
Hot flashes-- usually start with a hot, prickly feeling in the middle of your back. A heat wave then rises to envelop your back, chest, neck, face and scalp. Often if you touch your skin, it actually feels hot as though you've been out in the sun. Your pulse shoots up and you start sweating as your body tries to cool itself down. Sometimes you get a flush -- your face, neck and chest turn pink or even deep red. And very often, you suddenly shift from feeling incredibly hot and sweaty to feeling very chilled, even shivering. You may also get the nighttime version of hot flashes, night sweats.
- abnormal vaginal bleeding,
- hot flashes,
- vaginal and urinary symptoms,
- loss of libido
- and mood changes.
Hot flashes is that they can be controlled -- by HRT, and also to varying degrees by herbs, vitamins, natural supplements and other alternative methods including small things you can do such as:
- Try to reduce stress.
- Watch what you wear -- choose natural fibers, layered and loose-fitting clothing.
- Cut back on caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods.
- Stay cool at night. Have cold water by your bed ready to drink at the first sign of a sweat. Use cotton sheets and cotton nightclothes (I found men's t-shirts to be the best -- cool and absorbent!). As with your clothing, sleep under layers, so you can kick off extra bed covers when you get out and replace them when the chills start.
- Splash cold water on your face or wrists when a hot flash starts.
Menopause is complete when you have not had a period for 1 year. This is called postmenopause. Women who are postmenopausal can no longer get pregnant. You can reduce your risk of long-term problems such as osteoporosis and heart disease by taking the following steps:
- Control your blood pressure, cholesterol, and other risk factors for heart disease.
- Do NOT smoke. Cigarette use can cause early menopause.
- Eat a low-fat diet.
- Get regular exercise. Resistance exercises help strengthen your bones and improve your balance.
- If you show early signs of bone loss or have a strong family history of osteoporosis, talk to your doctor about medications that can help stop further weakening.
- Take calcium and vitamin D
Call your health care provider if:
- You are spotting blood between periods
- You have had 12 consecutive months with no period and suddenly vaginal bleeding or spotting begins again, even if it is a very small amount.